Thursday, 20 November 2014

An Open Letter to Sir Bob Geldof

Dear Sir Bob,

While realising that the past few years have not been kind to you and not having any desire to 'tune you grief' as my South African mates would say, I still think that it's time that you and I had a little talk.

When I was a teenager I was quite a fan of The Boomtown Rats and certainly rated you more highly than that prize ass Bono (is there no bandwagon sufficiently transient to induce that tax-dodging eejit not to mount it?!) but some of the things that you have said and done recently have made me realise that it could well be time for me to speak up.

Firstly, you appear to think that anyone who has expressed reservations about the latest Band Aid project doesn't give a toss about the way in which various countries in West Africa are being ravaged by Ebola. Nothing could be further from the truth – but I would posit that most refuseniks are probably more likely to be suffering from charity single ennui than compassion fatigue. Speaking for myself I do care about Africa, so much so that I elected to study African History in an African university, so don't think that you can wear me down with your, “Give me your feckin' money, you feckin' tight, pig-shit ignorant Western feckin' bastard!”

However, I think that I can probably speak for many of us when I say that I am heartily sick and tired of being asked to hand over dosh by a bunch of multi-millionaires who have “generously given their time” in order to lay down some piss-poor cover version of a 'much loved' classic. It might be their time but it's our money!

I have been a professional writer for more than 25 years and am still not earning enough to trouble HMRC. Do you know how insulting it is, when Britain's NHS and educational system is in a state of crisis, to submit your tax return and be told, “No, it's all right, love – you need it more than we do.” Yet YOU are expecting ME to be the one to hand over the money. Why not ask your dear old mate, Bono to donate the moolah that he saved from moving his financial affairs to the Netherlands?

I would also ask why, in any case, we should donate to Band Aid? It would surely make more sense to ask us to send a fiver to Medecins Sans Frontieres because they are at least on the front line.

Of course, in the end the people who should be pressured to contribute should be the big drugs companies such as Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline who are, after all, in more of a position to make a real contribution to ending the scourge of Ebola than the overworked and underpaid workforce of the UK. What we need most of all is a vaccine, but I think that you will find the pharmaceutical big hitters less susceptible to your peculiar brand of brusque Dublin charm.

Finally, could you and Midge not have written a new song? For God's sake! That's four feckin' times we've had to endure Do They Know It's Christmas? and, let's face it, this knackered old war horse is looking its age. If you hadn't kept on digging it up it might have evoked a few sensations of cosy nostalgia but now we're just fed up to the back teeth.

And, despite the 'subtle' lyric changes it's still a patronising and misleading view of the continent.

Sorry for your troubles and all, but I just had to say this.

Your former fan,